EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
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EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
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Property from the Collection of the Viennese Cabaret and Film Star Fritz Grünbaum
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)

Stehende Frau (Dirne)

EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
Stehende Frau (Dirne)
signed and dated 'EGON SCHIELE 1912.' (lower right)
gouache and watercolor over pencil on paper
18 7⁄8 x 12 3⁄8 in. (48 x 31.3 cm.)
Executed in 1912
Franz Friedrich "Fritz" Grünbaum, Vienna (by 1925, from whom spoliated after March 1938).
Gutekunst & Klipstein, Bern (1956).
Galerie St. Etienne, New York (acquired from the above, September 1956).
The Museum of Modern Art, New York (acquired from the above, 1957).
Restituted to the heirs of Fritz Grünbaum (2023).
"1957 Acquisitions" in The Museum of Modern Art Bulletin, July 1958, pp. 4 and 23 (illustrated, p. 23).
M. Arnold, Egon Schiele: Leben und Werk, Stuttgart, 1984, p. 65 (illustrated).
J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1998, p. 468, no. 1045 (illustrated).
Vienna, Kunsthandlung Würthle, Egon Schiele, December 1925-January 1926, no. 73.
Bern, Gutekunst & Klipstein, Egon Schiele: Bilder, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik, September-October 1956, p. 22, no. 23 (illustrated; with incorrect dimensions).
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Egon Schiele: Watercolors and Drawings, January-February 1957, no. 10 (illustrated).
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Recent Acquisitions, November 1957-January 1958.
Des Moines Art Center; Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts and The Art Institute of Chicago, Egon Schiele and the Human Form: Drawings and Watercolors, September 1971-February 1972, no. 26 (illustrated).
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, November-December 1980, pp. 91-92, no. 33 (illustrated, pl. 32).
Vienna, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, Otto Kallir-Nirenstein: Ein Wegbereiter Österreichischer Kunst, February-April 1986, pp. 74-75, no. 165 (illustrated, p. 75).

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Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist, Co-Head of 20th Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Peering out from beneath her waves of loose, curly hair, the protagonist of Egon Schiele’s 1912 watercolor Stehende Frau (Dirne) exudes a bold confidence as she looks straight towards the viewer, her scarlet lipstick and rouged cheeks complemented by a dash of blue pigment that lines her large, dark eyes. In contrast to the lithe waifs of the artist’s earlier work, this anonymous female model is portrayed with a vivid physicality, her voluptuous, womanly body rendered with an almost sculptural approach to form. While her unbound hair falls in a loose cloud that partially hides her face, there is nothing coy nor meek about this character as she glances over, her expression knowing and filled with a certain directness and intent, as she slowly begins to lift her dress up. Imbued with a subtle eroticism and sensuality, the scene reveals the shifts which were occurring in Schiele’s approach to the figure during this period, as he began to temper the heady sexuality and scandalous nature of his images in the wake of his imprisonment and trial for indecency during the opening months of the year.
Schiele’s style and the focus of his subject matter was, in part, inspired by the art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, whose work he had first encountered in 1909. While his masterly use of pencil, watercolor and gouache finds parallels in the French artist’s work, it was Toulouse-Lautrec’s unerring studies of the modern female body and intriguing explorations of sexuality which had the most lasting effect on the young Schiele. As Otto Benesch acknowledged, Toulouse-Lautrec had “made an enormous impression on Schiele through his mercilessly bitter representation, through his investigation of the female psyche” (quoted in F. Whitford, Egon Schiele, London, 1981, p. 60). In Stehende Frau (Dirne) there is an electric sense of sexual tension—the model’s fingers are buried in the voluminous, colorful fabric of her skirts, as she pulls the hem upwards to reveal her black stockings, the flash of their red trim catching the viewer’s eye and drawing attention to her movements. With this gesture, Schiele conjures a highly sensual, suggestive pose, heightening the tension even further through the woman’s direct gaze. Unlike other examples of his more provocative and explicit works depicting partially undressed or nude women, it is the suggestion of what is to come that lends Stehende Frau (Dirne) its captivating power.
At this time, Schiele was fully versed in the unique properties of watercolor, playing with the opacity of his pigments and the natural flow of the paint as it swept across the page, to conjure rich, vibrant scenes that retained a sense of the spontaneity of their creation. In Stehende Frau (Dirne), Schiele uses a mixture of gouache and watercolor, laid over delicate lines of pencil, to describe the different textures within the scene, from the thin, twirling strands of his model’s hair, to the broad passages of paint that make up her clothing. Her limbs appear more rounded and organic compared to the sharp angularity exhibited in his previous drawings, while the vibrant fabric of her dress is layered in subtly variegated shades that offer a stark contrast to her milky white skin. Reminiscent of the multi-colored robe worn by the bohemian dancer and mime artist Moa, who was the subject of several Schiele portraits in 1911, the structure of this dress also demonstrates the artist’s growing confidence with his materials at this time.
Using a delicate pencil under-drawing to describe and define his subject, Schiele divided his sheet into a sequence of distinct color areas, which he then filled with the soft, almost velvety passages of gently flowing watercolor. Experimenting with the opacity of his pigments, Schiele ensures the different layers of colored fabric remain independent from one another within the scene, bringing the pigments close to the edge of their respective sections without letting them bleed over into one another, on occasion leaving small slivers of the bare sheet visible along their contours.

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